Cuba arrests 17 for human trafficking to fight for Russia in Ukraine

8 September, 01:47 PM
Russian military (Photo:Міноборони РФ / Facebook)

Russian military (Photo:Міноборони РФ / Facebook)

Cuban authorities arrested 17 people on charges related to a ring of human traffickers that allegedly lured young Cuban men to fight for Russia in Ukraine, Reuters reported on Sept. 8.

To date, 17 people have been arrested, including the internal organizer of the operation, said Cuba´s Interior Ministry. While the accused were not named, the group’s leader relied on two people residing on the island to recruit Cuban mercenaries to fight for Russia in Ukraine, reported Reuters.

The accused face up to 30 years in prison, a life sentence, or the death penalty, depending on the crime, which range from human trafficking, to fighting as a mercenary, and hostile action against a foreign state, said prosecutor Jose Luis Reyes.

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Cuba has uncovered a human trafficking ring that has coerced its citizens to fight for Russia in the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported earlier on Sept. 5, adding that authorities were working to "neutralize and dismantle" the network, which it said operated both on Cuban and Russian soil.

Russia tries to recruit foreigners for the war against Ukraine to avoid announcing a new mobilization before the presidential elections scheduled for 2024, reported U.K. intelligence on Sep. 3.

Russia recruits migrants from Central Asia to participate in combat operations in Ukraine, promising them expedited citizenship and a monthly salary of up to $4,160.

Russia planned to recruit an additional 400,000 contract soldiers after its offensive in Ukraine failed. This comes in the wake of significant losses reported Bloomberg on Mar. 24.

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